Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East Earns a Blue Distinction® Center Designation for Higher Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Maternity Care


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2021) – The Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East is proud to be recognized by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky with a Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal health care, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location and implicit provider bias. Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany and Australia, the United State has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.

To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis, such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of cesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health care.

Overall, cost of care episodes for vaginal and cesarean births at BDC+ facilities are 20% less than those at non-Blue Distinction Centers+ facilities. The rates of episiotomies were 49% less those at Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+) than at those at non-Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+). In 2018, BDC/BDC+ facilities across the country cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth.

The Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East was recognized by Anthem for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Centers+ quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

“We are proud to receive this maternity care designation for our commitment to the quality of care each of our patients receive,” said Ralph Taylor, RN, MHA, MSN, RN-CNOR, vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, Saint Joseph East. “This designation is important because it examines patient outcomes and the quality of care they receive to help ensure expectant mothers are receiving the best care possible when they choose a facility for their health care needs. We are honored to be recognized for our strong program we offer and care that we provide. It’s one less thing expectant mothers have to worry about when bringing their newborn into the world.”

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV C-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.

Quality is key; only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

“Blue Distinction designation is an important recognition of Saint Joseph East’s innovative and patient-centered approach to quality maternity care,” said Jeff Reynolds, M.D., Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky’s medical director. “The Blue Distinction program recognizes commitment to quality and helps consumers identify high performing health care providers. I congratulate Saint Joseph East’s entire maternity team for this well-deserved honor.”

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

All companies and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only,  and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Use of these trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.

About Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East

The Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East is a 16-bed Level III NICU located in Lexington, KY. Established in 2010, the facility serves residents of central and eastern Kentucky and is a state-of-the-art hospital dedicated exclusively to the health and well-being of women. The facility features patient- and family-centered design and amenities.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/anthemBCBS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnthemBlueCrossBlueShield.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health IndexSM. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on www.bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for noncovered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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Publish Date: 

Monday, February 08, 2021

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